Company Fined Following Fatal Chemical Plant Accident

OSHA cited Morton International Inc. for 26 safety and health\r\nviolations and proposed penalties totaling $118,500 following a\r\nfatality at the company's Moss Point, Miss., chemical plant.

OSHA cited Morton International Inc. for 26 safety and health violations and proposed penalties totaling $118,500 following a fatality at the company''s Moss Point, Miss., chemical plant.

One worker was killed when he was overcome by the accidental release of hydrogen sulfide gas during the introduction of a new process. The employee was not wearing a respirator.

OSHA conducted an inspection following the fatal accident and cited Morton for 20 serious health violations with proposed penalties of $93,000. Health violations included:

  • exposing employees to asphyxiation hazards caused by relief devices that vented potentially fatal chemicals into the work area;
  • failure to equip pressure vessels with relief devices;
  • the lack of written procedures to manage workplace change; and
  • the lack of respiratory and eye protection.

The company was also cited for six serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $25,500.

Safety violations included: failure to develop lockout/tagout procedures, failure to provide proper training for powered industrial trucks, and failure to protect employees from electrical hazards.

"This employer failed to keep the workplace free of hazards recognized by the chemical industry and an employee died," said Clyde Payne, OSHA''s Jackson, Miss., area director. "When companies look for hazards and fix them, they save lives."

In 1998, OSHA handled a similar case involving Morton International in Patterson, N.J.

Both facilities are subsidiaries of the Rohm and Hass Co. The approximately 240 employees at the Moss Point plant are part of a worldwide workforce of about 10,600 employees.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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